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Monday, February 6, 2012

Marriage Monday - Escape

Do you know the 'Pina Colada' Song?  It is actually called Escape and  was an early 80's hit by Rupert Holmes. Basically, its about a man who's got the 'seven year itch' in his relationship with his wife and decides to  respond to a personal ad in the paper. The lady in the ad sounds really interesting and he's captivated and decides to meet her. Who should it be...but his very own lady! Its a very cute story (setting aside the intention to commit infidelity of course). Check out the lyrics here.

Today at Chrysalis, e-Mom is linking us up with this topic  for Marriage Monday:

Tell us how you've exercised your God-given creativity to renew the intimacy and romance in your relationship.

I really look forward to reading what everyone has contributed...click on the link above to check it out.

Like, the couple in the song, we all go through that period where everything becomes routine, mundane. The excitement is gone...sometimes we even lose ourselves, we forget who we are as we take on the roles of parenthood and all the other hats we end up wearing as married folk. Are you in this place right now? Have you been there?

My husband and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage in just under two weeks. We've been there and back and I can tell you that there is HOPE! First of all, like the couple in the song, you can re-connect and find that you have so much in common still. You could discover that, even though life has wrought changes to you both, underneath all of the layers, are the same two people who fell in love..you just have to coax them out a bit.

Let me tell you about my own 'Escape' story...

A couple of years ago, I had crossed over the 40 year milestone and was approaching another  birthday and I felt depressed about how my life was looking. I was now middle-aged! I had made myself promises to do things, how I wanted my marriage to be etc and nothing was as I wanted it to be. I took stock of myself and realised that I had become absorbed with my role as mother and housewife. I had stopped seeing myself as a woman first and I felt that my husband, also, didn't see me as a woman so much as a mother and housewife. How could I change things? I wanted to FEEL, to DO, to have PASSION for my husband and PASSION for life again.

Well, friends, I decided to create my own version of 'Escape'...I wanted to escape from who I'd become and show my husband that  underneath it all I was still a woman of passion and someone that he could fall in love with all over again. So what did I do?   I PURSUED HIM! 

I started writing him e-mails telling him what a wonderful man he is, how much more I wanted for us...saying via the internet what I couldn't say face to face. I realised that, throughout our marriage, I had failed to build him up. Our husbands need to know that we think that they are 'all that', that they're all-man, that we desire them. I thought he saw me as only his wife, the mother of his children, the housekeeper, chauffeur etc. He thought I saw him as the breadwinner, the one to fix things when they were broken etc. Neither of us had stepped over the barriers created by the drudgery of life to seize something bigger and better.

Suddenly we had stripped off the layers and were actually talking to each other...sharing dreams,  desires, hopes.   Our marriage came alive under this transformation...a slow one but a steady one.   A brand new romance blossomed via the media. I would text him, e-mail him on a daily basis and he would do the same for me. Just like the couple in the song, we discovered  that lots of things that we secretly dreamed about were shared fantasies or desires or hopes.

Over the next two years, the dynamic of our relationship changed drastically. We were communicating more, sharing more...oh we fought more in the beginning too as we began to reveal our true inner selves,  but there was passion again...a passion for each other, a passion for life. I used to dream of a romantic husband and I gave up... thinking he didn't have it in him and he'd probably never have it. What a shame to waste all those years...boy does my husband have it in him! He has exceeded my wildest dreams of what a romantic man could be.

Ladies...you can do this too!  Don't be afraid to try something new.  Put some thought and care into stirring things up a little. Try a different perfume, buy a nice negligee  (or pull out the ones you've hidden underneath all your practical underwear). Try something new in the bedroom. Men are essentially sexual creatures and as wives we need to acknowledge this part of their make up. If you're in doubt...ask him. It took a few tries before I discovered my husbands actual likes and dislikes and, I will admit, I felt a bit hurt when he didn't like something, but ultimately I love his new open and honest approach...neither of us is hiding our true feelings any more.

Take a good look in the mirror. If you have been neglecting yourself, remember that men are visual creatures and he will sit up and take notice if you do something nice for yourself. That first year, I coloured my hair and got a nice cut and the look on my husband's face was worth every cent that I paid!  Or course, I know he loves me whether I'm dressed up or not, overweight or not, but it sends the message to him as well as ourselves that we are desirable when we work on it a little.

Communicate! Listen up...texting is not just for our teenagers! You have the technology...use it! I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling it is to get a text message saying that my husband is thinking about me in the middle of his busy day. I know that when I send him a word of love and encouragement it brightens his day too.

Spend time alone together.  If you can afford it, take a weekend away from the children, the chores, the responsibilities. Recharge your batteries, inject some joie de vivre into your relationship. Even if you can only do this once or twice for the year, it will make a difference...trust me! I'm overdue for a getaway with my husband but I'm still fueled by the memories of our weekend away together for our 20th anniversary!

If this is not possible, just spend time alone together any way you can. I'm lucky in that my husband is a rare species of man..he enjoys shopping! We often use our 'grocery shopping time' as time to connect and talk without the children present. Its a standing joke that when Mom and Dad go to the grocery they take forever! (Its really because we shop around and read labels etc., but I don't argue because I really am enjoying time with my  husband and he with me).  Buy him a coffee in the mall, take a walk, a drive...anything...what's really important is that you are spending quality time alone and connecting, communicating, sharing.

Pray together! My husband and I kneel together in prayer every Sunday. We try to pray every night and every morning for a couple of minutes...lately its been really difficult since we're always tired. Prayer brings the Holy Spirit into your relationship as you invite Him, as you pray for each other and lift each other before the throne of God. Believe me...God must be the head of your marriage, at the very centre of it. When the Holy Spirit is present in your marriage, He works marvels. I'm always amazed at the spiritual bond my husband and I are slowly achieving. There are times when his words minister to me in a powerful way...in a way that only God could do.

Build each other up. Train yourself to stop focusing on the negative things that he does. Nothing can kill loving feelings more than that! Instead focus on the positive, the good things, the good memories, the good feelings. Sometimes love has to be cultivated because, let's face it...he drives you crazy sometimes and you do the same to him. Husbands and wives are very vulnerable to each other and it takes courage to open up. Be tender with his heart when he does.

Sacrifice a little.  So you don't like fishing...sit with him anyway. Listen to him talk about things that you don't necessarily understand or have an interest in. When you can show him that you care about the things that make him happy, he feels the love and you'll get big rewards.

So does the mundane disappear? Does life become easy street? Do the blues go away? No..they don't...I'm sorry to say, BUT, they're a whole lot easier to bear now. With an open door of communication...we both now understand each other and who we have 'grown up' to be a little better. We can extend each other grace, cultivate our relationship and, most importantly, we have discovered that we still enjoy each other's company.


Beth said...

You've got some great ideas here, Lisa Maria! I love how you decided to pursue him after you noticed things were not as exciting anymore. It inspires me to keep that as my daily goal as well! Thanks for the great thoughts!

Nicole said...

I too love how you pursued your husband. I find that's true in my own relationship as well. We haven't been married as long as you (going on 9 married years but dating/married over 14 years).

Lately we've taken to writing each other notes on the bathroom mirror. I never know what I'll find. :)

Great ideas to think about - thanks!

Denise said...

Such fabulous ideas.

Mac an Rothaich said...

I remember when I realized I was being mom first or really being mom only... I too went after my man again and what a treasure I rediscovered! Instead of my baby brain overtaking my marriage, my romance with my husband took me through the years of baby brain with more joy. Thanks for sharing all your tips.

Alicia The Snowflake said...

Great post! I remember reading a book called Romancing Your Husband. The author said the very same things. Sometimes we have to take the initiative. Thanks for that wonderful advice! Blessings to you!

Tami Boesiger said...

Well look at you two! Awesome job! SOOO proud of you for taking a big step and sending that first email. That was a risk that paid off, girl. I love your story.

e-Mom said...

Awesome! Loved this post!!! Every.single.word. You go girl.

Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today, Lisa Maria.

Hugs, e-Mom

Constance said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. How crazy is that-you live in Trinidad in the West Indies! I have to say our years in Trinidad, Colorado while the scenery and surrounding mountains was wonderful, life there wasn't ideal. I had to really work on staying upbeat and positive in such a depressing place!

Great insights into overcoming the ho-humness of everyday married life. One of the things I do is I will call and leave a message on Dave's work number when he travels. He usually checks his messages right before boarding his plane and I want him to hear my voice and how much I love him before he gets on board. I always fix him one of his favorite meals the night he comes home. In my own goofy way, I guess I want him to look forward to coming home. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Kristin Bridgman said...

What a great post! And I don't know any woman who won't learn from this, all your wonderful advice. We've been married for 30 years now and I do know about the ho humness! I also know what a little kind word, a little sacrifice and a little spice can do ;) Too many give up without trying and giving it their all. Of course prayer goes right along with that pretty nighty!
This post ranks right up there at the top! Too many

Faith said...

WOW...this post is good!!!! I"ve been reading some really good MM posts tonite! I really appreciate what you say about building each other up and PRAYING together. that is actually one of my new year resolutions/goals: for Dave and I to pray more TOGETHER> we have our own prayer times but we need to get back to being a couple united in this.....so important!! love all your tips, too! :)and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...we'll be 22 yrs in June!!

Lisa Maria said...

Ladies...I thank you all for your sweet words of encouragement. I was truly blessed to stop by and read your contributions too. I love being a part of the Marriage Monday community...its such a great forum of encouragement and inspiration.

Jessica Heights said...

Your story is so sweet! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! :)

Anonymous said...

Hehe, I love the picture of the cavecouple to go along with your story of pursuing your husband!

Since texting became the thing to do my husband sends me texts from work throughout the day, every day, telling me he loves me etc. We have been married 11 years. Technology has made these little affirmations possible because it would certainly not have been practical for him to phone me just to say "I Love You" as often as he texts me now! Plus, I suppose, with texts, none of his buddies have to hear him telling me such sweet things all the time. ;)